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Florida mayor arrested for failing to disclose consulting job

MIAMI (Reuters) - A Florida mayor was arrested on corruption charges on Wednesday for allegedly failing to disclose that he worked as a paid consultant for a health clinic company looking to expand in his city.

Homestead Mayor Steven Bateman is the third mayor in the Miami area to be arrested on graft or ethics charges in recent weeks. Mayoral races are officially nonpartisan and candidates are not required to list their party affiliation, but according to voter registration records Bateman is a Democrat.

Ed Griffith, a spokesman for State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, said Bateman was arrested at his home as part of a probe into his $125-an-hour consulting job with Community Health of South Florida, Inc.

Bateman worked for the non-profit company while it sought approval from the Homestead city government to expand the number of its clinics in the city.

Bateman, 58, faces two felony counts of unlawful compensation on charges that he never publicly disclosed his work as a consultant. He was suspended from office by Florida Gov. Rick Scott after his arrest.

According to an arrest affidavit, Bateman received $3,625 from Community Health and billed for work he did on behalf of the company, including meetings with the mayor of Miami-Dade County.

Ben Kuehne, a lawyer for Bateman, could not be reached on Wednesday for comment.

As mayor of Homestead, Bateman is paid a base salary of $6,000 and his total pay package is more than $33,000, including health and life insurance, the affidavit said.

Bateman's re-election website says he is also the president of a construction company.

Earlier this month, FBI agents arrested two other mayors in Miami-Dade County on corruption charges alleging the two men separately accepted bribes in connection with purported government contracts awarded to their Miami-area towns.

Manuel Marono, the mayor of Sweetwater, and Michael Pizzi, the mayor of Miami Lakes, were suspended from office after being charged with conspiracy to commit extortion.

(Reporting by Kevin Gray; Editing by Andrew Hay and Ken Wills)

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